For those of you that read my review of Zoe Archer’s Warrior, you know that I was unsure of my thoughts on her The Blades of Rose series. However, I had told Jackie I was going to review the second book and I didn’t want to let her down. So I figured I’d force my way through Scoundrel and move on from the series. Boy was I wrong!
London Harcourt’s father is bent on subjugating the world’s magic to British rule. But since London is a mere female, he hasn’t bothered to tell her so. He’s said only that he’s leading a voyage to the Greek isles. No matter, after a smothering marriage and three years of straitlaced widowhood, London jumps at the opportunity – unfortunately, right into the arms of Bennett Day.
Bennett is a ladies’ man, when he’s not dodging lethal attacks to protect the powers of the ancients from men like London’s father. Sometimes, he’s a ladies’ man even when he is dodging them. But the minute he sees London he knows she will require his full attention. The woman is lovely, brilliant, and the only known speaker of a dialect of ancient Greek that holds the key to calling down the wrath of the gods. Bennett will be risking his life again – but around London, what really worries him is the danger to his heart…
From the moment I started reading Scoundrel I knew I was going to be much happier with the second book in The Blades of Rose series. The first character we get introduced to is Bennett Day. He’s you’re typical ladies man – incredibly sexy, always willing to bed a beautiful woman (married or not), but never willing to commit. It works for him though, as he uses his charm and good looks to aide him in his missions for The Blades, not to mention his uncanny ability to get in and out of places without being detected and his exceptional fighting ability. For me he’s the perfect “hero” – skilled, sexy, has a sense of humor and is a challenge. Heck I wanted to bring him to life and convince him to be with me! LOL ;)
On the other hand, we have his counterpart, London Harcourt, the daughter of Joseph Edgeworth (one of the heads of The Heirs) and sister of Jonas Edgeworth (one of The Heirs from Warrior). She’s also the window of Lawrence Harcourt, who just happened to be killed by Bennett during a mission. London is a self taught linguist who is brought on a mission for The Heirs, under the guise of helping her father understand the language for an “archeology” mission. However, it’s not long before London finds out what’s really going on and realizes she has to pick a side. The Blades or The Heirs? Her father or her morals and beliefs? It’s not long before she chooses to run off with Bennett and The Blades and that’s when all hell breaks loose…
As for the chemistry between the characters in this book, when Bennett and London first meet, both are unexplainably drawn to each other. The sexual tension and chemistry between them is palpable. Both feel inexplicably drawn to each other and neither can explain or deny it. I just loved reading about these two coming together. He is exactly what she needed to help her experience life and she’s exactly what he needed to be a little more grounded.
Also joining Bennett and London on their mission to find the Source is Athena Galanos, a talented witch and Nikos Kallas, captain of their ship. Athena is a no nonsense woman who doesn’t suffer fools and Kallas is a manly, smart seaman who manages to get “under her skin”. They pretty much do nothing but argue, but anyone can tell it’s foreplay for them. There is so much sexual tension between those two you could cut it with a knife. I enjoyed their side story…watching them overcome their headstrong ways and give into their love for one another. Plus, the interaction between Bennett, London, Athena and Kallas was fun. Each one of them brought a skill that the others respected and admired, which made for an amazing team.
Unfortunately, successful as they were, the group had The Heirs hot on their tales. Joseph Edgeworth (London’s father), Thomas Fraser and Chernock, aided by a team of henchman willing to do their bidding, proved to be as determined to get the Source as The Blades. I have to give it to Archer, she has an excellent skill at writing villains. The Heirs’ innermost thoughts and what they are willing to do to obtain the Source are downright scary. It definitely makes for compelling reading!
Unlike with Warrior, I can’t think of any real complaints that I have about Scoundrel. The mistakes I felt she made in the first book were definitely not made in the second. I found this book to be a much quicker, more enjoyable read. The characters were better, the journey far more interesting and the fights more fascinating. Also, towards the end of the book we get a peek inside the head of another Blade, who is featured in one of the upcoming books (I’m not telling who though…you have to read the book to find out!). I enjoyed this look ahead, along with Scoundrel, so much that I’ve decided to continue reading the series. So if you’re like me and were on the fence about Archer’s The Blades of Rose series, after reading Warrior, I ask that you give it one last try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed you did!